Childhood Immunizations:

What Every Parent Should Know




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CHILDHOOD IMMUNIZATIONS SCHEDULE
Office VisitsImmunizations ReceivedInjections
2 WeeksNone0
2 Months(Pediatrix,Hib,Prevnar,Rotateg)3
4 Months(Pediarix, Hib, Prevnar, Rotateq)3
6 Months(Pediarix, Prevnar, Rotateq)2
9 monthsNone0
12 Months(Hib, Prevnar)2
15 Months (MMR, Varivax)2
18 Months(DTaP, Hep A)2
2-3 Years (Hep A)1



The safety of early childhood immunizations has recently come under question by many parents. The medical community continues to promote the safety and benefits of vaccines to protect young children from fatal diseases.

Providing occupational therapy to children with autism I understand the common concern about the possible connection between the MMR shot and this condition. Autism Symptoms It is also frightening as a parent to make a decision that might result in a life altering side effect for your child.

I have gathered information from various medical sites that hopefully will give you answers to the questions you may have about childhood immunizations.

10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CHILDHOOD IMMUNIZATIONS:

1. Why should I immunization my child?

Children need vaccines (shots) to protect them from dangerous childhood diseases. These diseases can have serious complications and even kill children.

2. Diseases that childhood immunization prevent:

    • Diphtheria
    • Haemophilus influenzae type b
    • (Hib disease - a major cause of bacterial meningitis)
    • Hepatitis A
    • Hepatitis B
    • Measles
    • Meningococcal
    • Mumps
    • Pertussis(Whooping Cough)
    • Pneumococcal(causes bacterial meningitis and blood infections)
    • Polio
    • Rotavirus
    • Rubella (German Measles)
    • Tetanus (Lockjaw)
    • Varicella(Chickenpox)

3. Number of doses your child needs:

The following childhood immunization are recommended by age two and can be given over five visits to a doctor or clinic:

    • 4 doses of diphtheria, tetanus & pertussis vaccine (DTaP)
    • 3-4 doses of Hib vaccine (depending on the brand used)
    • 4 doses of pneumococcal vaccine
    • 3 doses of polio vaccine
    • 2 doses of hepatitis A vaccine
    • 3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine
    • 1 dose of measles, mumps & rubella vaccine (MMR)
    • 3 doses of rotavirus vaccine
    • 1 dose of varicella vaccine
    • 2-3 doses of influenza vaccine (6 months and older) (number of doses depends on child's birthday)

4. Like any medicine, there may be minor side effects

Diphtheria Vaccine Side-Effects

Getting diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis disease is much riskier than getting DTaP immunization.

Mild Problems(Common):

    • Fever (up to about 1 child in 4)
    • Redness or swelling where the shot was given (up to about 1 child in 4)
    • Soreness or tenderness where the shot was given (up to about 1 child in 4)
    • Fussiness (up to about 1 child in 3)
    • Tiredness or poor appetite (up to about 1 child in 10)
    • Vomiting (up to about 1 child in 50)
These problems generally occur 1 to 3 days after the shot.

Childhood immunizations, like any medicine, are capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of DTaP vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.

(This information taken from DTaP VIS dated 5/17/07. If the actual VIS is more recent than this date, the information on this page needs to be updated.)

Hepatitis A-Immunization Side-Effects

Getting hepatitis A childhood immunization is much safer than getting the disease.

Mild Problems:

    • soreness where the shot was given (about 1 out of 2 adults, and up to 1 out of 6 children)
    • headache (about 1 out of 6 adults and 1 out of 25 children)
    • loss of appetite (about 1 out of 12 children)
    • tiredness (about 1 out of 14 adults)

If these problems occur, they usually last 1 or 2 days.

Childhood immunization, like any medicine, could possibly cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of hepatitis A immunization causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.

This information was taken directly from the Hepatitis A VIS (This information taken from Hepatitis A VIS dated 3/27/06. If the actual VIS is more recent than this date, the information on this page needs to be updated.)

Hepatitis B Immunization Side-Effects

Hepatitis B is a very safe childhood immunization. Most people do not have any problems with it.

Mild problems:

    • Soreness where the shot was given (up to about 1 person 4)
    • Temperature of 99.9°F or higher (up to about 1 person in 15).

Childhood immunization, like any medicine, could cause a serious reaction. But the risk of a vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small. More than 100 million people have gotten hepatitis B immunization in the United States.

This information was taken directly from the Hepatitis B VIS (This information taken from Hepatitis B VIS dated 7/18/07. If the actual VIS is more recent than this date, the information on this page needs to be updated.)

Hib Immunization Side-Effects

Most people who get Hib immunization do not have any problems with it.

Mild Problems:

    • Redness, warmth, or swelling where the shot was given (up to 1 out of 4 children)
    • Fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit (up to 1 out of 20 children)
If these problems happen, they usually start within a day of vaccination. They may last 2 to 3 days.

Childhood immunization, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of Hib immunization causing serious harm or death is extremely small.

This information was taken directly from the Hib VIS (This information taken from Hib VIS dated 12/16/98. If the actual VIS is more recent than this date, the information on this page needs to be updated.)

Influenza(inactivated)Immunization Side-Effects

Mild Problems:

    • soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
    • fever
    • aches
If these problems occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last 1 to 2 days.

Childhood immunization, like any medicine, could possibly cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of a immunization causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.

This information was taken directly from the Inactivated Influenza VIS (This information taken from Inactivated Influenza VIS dated 7/24/08. If the actual VIS is more recent than this date, the information on this page needs to be updated.)

Influenza(live)Immunization Side-Effects

Live influenza immunization viruses rarely spread from person to person. Even if they do, they are not likely to cause illness.

LAIV is made from weakened virus and does not cause influenza. The vaccine can cause mild symptoms in people who get it (see below).

Mild Problems:

Some children and adolescents 2-17 years of age have reported mild reactions, including:

    • runny nose, nasal congestion or cough
    • headache and muscle aches
    • fever
    • wheezing
    • abdominal pain or occasional vomiting or diarrhea

These symptoms did not last long and went away on their own. Although they can occur after vaccination, they may not have been caused by the vaccine.

Childhood immunization, like any medicine, could possibly cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. However, the risk of a immunization causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.

This information was taken directly from the LAIV VIS (This information taken from Live Influenza VIS dated 7/24/08. If the actual VIS is more recent than this date, the information on this page needs to be updated.)

MMR Immunization Side-Effects (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella)

Getting MMR immunization is much safer than getting any of these three diseases.Most people who get MMR immunization do not have any problems with it.

Mild Problems:

    • Fever (up to 1 person out of 6)
    • Mild rash (about 1 person out of 20)
    • Swelling of glands in the cheeks or neck (rare) If these problems occur, it is usually within 7-12 days after the shot. They occur less often after the second dose.

Childhood immunization, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of MMR vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.

This information was taken directly from the MMR VIS (This information taken from MMR VIS dated 3/13/08. If the actual VIS is more recent than this date, the information on this page needs to be updated.)

Meningococcal Immunization Side-Effects:

Mild Problems:

As many as half the people who get meningococcal immunization have mild side effects, such as redness or pain where the shot was given.

If these problems occur, they usually last for 1 or 2 days. They are more common after MCV4 than after MPSV4.

A small percentage of children who receive the childhood immunization develop a fever.

Childhood immunization, like any medicine, could possibly cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of the meningococcal vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.

This information was taken directly from the Meningococcal VIS (This information taken from Meningococcal VIS dated 1/28/08. If the actual VIS is more recent than this date, the information on this page needs to be updated.)

PCV7 Immunization Side-Effects (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine)

In studies (nearly 60,000 doses), pneumococcal conjugate immunization was associated with only mild reactions:

Mild Problems:

    • Up to about 1 infant out of 4 had redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot was given.
    • Up to about 1 out of 3 had a fever of over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, and up to about 1 in 50 had a higher fever (over 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit).
    • Some children also became fussy or drowsy, or had a loss of appetite.

This information was taken directly from the PCV VIS(This information taken from PCV VIS dated 12/9/08. If the actual VIS is more recent than this date, the information on this page needs to be updated.)

PPSV23 Immunization Side-Effects (Pneumococcal Polysaccharide)

About half of people who get PPSV have mild side effects, such as redness or pain where the shot is given.

Less than 1 percent develop a fever, muscle aches, or more severe local reactions.

Childhood immunization, like any medicine, could cause a serious reaction. But the risk of a immunization causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.

This information was taken directly from the PPSV VIS(This information taken from PPSV VIS dated 4/16/09. If the actual VIS is more recent than this date, the information on this page needs to be updated.)

Polio Immunization Side-Effects

Some people who get Inactivated Polio immunization (IPV) get a sore spot where the shot was given. The immunization used today has never been known to cause any serious problems, and most people don’t have any problems at all with it.

Childhood immunization, like any medicine, could cause serious problems, such as a severe allergic reaction. The risk of a polio shot causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.

This information was taken directly from the IPV VIS(This information taken from IPV VIS dated 1/1/00. If the actual VIS is more recent than this date, the information on this page needs to be updated.)

Rotavirus Immunization Side-Effects:

Most babies who get rotavirus immunization do not have any problems with it.

Mild Problems:

Babies may be slightly more likely to be irritable, or to have mild, temporary diarrhea or vomiting after getting a dose of rotavirus vaccine than babies who did not get the immunization.

Childhood immunization, like any medicine, could possibly cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of rotavirus immunization causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.

This information was taken directly from the Rotavirus VIS Adobe (This information taken from Rotavirus VIS dated 4/28/08. If the actual VIS is more recent than this date, the information on this page needs to be updated.)

Smallpox (Vaccinia)Immunization Side-Effects:

Mild to Moderate Problems:

    • Mild rash, lasting 2-4 days.
    • Swelling and tenderness of lymph nodes, lasting 2-4 weeks after the blister has healed.
    • Fever of over 100 degrees fahrenheit (about 70% of children, 17% of adults) or over 102 degrees Fahrenheit (about 15%-20% of children, under 2% of adults).
    • Secondary blister elsewhere on the body (about 1 per 1,900).

Childhood immunization, like any medicine, could possibly cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of smallpox vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is very small.

This information was taken directly from the Smallpox VIS(This information taken from Smallpox VIS dated 12/11/02. If the actual VIS is more recent than this date, the information on this page needs to be updated.)

Varicella (Chickenpox)Immunization Side-Effects:

Getting chickenpox immunization is much safer than getting chickenpox disease. Most people who get chickenpox immunization do not have any problems with it. Reactions are usually more likely after the first dose than after the second.

Mild Problems;

    • Soreness or swelling where the shot was given (about 1 out of 5 children and up to 1 out of 3 adolescents and adults)
    • Fever (1 person out of 10, or less)
    • Mild rash, up to a month after vaccination (1 person out of 25). It is possible for these people to infect other members of their household, but this is extremely rare.

Childhood immunization, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of chickenpox immunization causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.

This information was taken directly from the Varicella VIS(This information taken from Varicella VIS dated 3/13/08. If the actual VIS is more recent than this date, the information on this page needs to be updated.)

5. It's extremely rare, but childhood immunizations can cause serious reactions -- weigh the risks!

Serious reactions to childhood immunization are extremely rare. The risks of serious disease from not vaccinating are far greater than the risks of serious reaction to an immunization.

What should I look for?

    • Any unusual condition, such as a high fever, weakness, or behavior changes. Signs of a serious allergic reaction can include difficulty breathing, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heart beat or dizziness.

What should I do?

    • Call a doctor, or get the person to a doctor right away.
    • Tell your doctor what happened, the date and time it happened, and when the vaccination was given.
    • Ask your provider to report the reaction by filing a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) form. Or you can file this report through the VAERS website at VAERS or by calling 1-800-822-7967.
    • VAERS does not provide medical advice.
    • Reporting reactions helps experts learn about possible problems with vaccines.
    • For childhood immunization information, call the CDC-INFO Contact Center at:

    • English and Spanish

      (800) CDC-INFO

      (800) 232-4636

      TTY: (888) 232-6348

      FAX: (770) 488-4760

Safer Healthier PeopleCenters for Disease Control and Prevention 1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30333, U.S.APublic Inquiries: 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636); 1-888-232-6348 (TTY)USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services

6. What to do if your child has a serious reaction:

If you think your child is experiencing a persistent or severe reaction, call your doctor or get the child to a doctor right away. Write down what happened and the date and time it happened. Ask your doctor, nurse or health department to file a Vaccine Adverse Event Report form or go to Vaccine Adverse Event Report to file this form yourself electronically.

7. Why you should not wait to vaccinate:

Children under 5 are especially susceptible to disease because their immune systems have not built up the necessary defenses to fight infection. By immunizing on time (by age 2), you can protect your child from disease and also protect others at school or daycare. More...

8. Be sure to track your shots via a health record

Childhood immunization records helps you and your health care provider keep your child's immunizations on schedule. If you move or change providers, having an accurate record might prevent your child from repeating immunization he or she has already had. A shot record should be started when your child receives his/her first immunization and updated with each immunization visit.

9. Some are eligible for free vaccinations:

A federal program called Vaccines for Children provides free childhood immunization to eligible children, including those without health insurance coverage, all those who are enrolled in Medicaid, American Indians and Alaskan Natives and those whose health insurance dues does not cover vaccines and go to Federally Qualified Health Clinics or Rural Health Centers.

10. More information is available:

    • General immunization questions can be answered by The CDC Contact Center at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) English and Español
    • Questions about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases frequently asked by people calling the TTY Service Hotline at:

      1-888-232-6348 (TTY hotline)

Non-CDC Link Disclaimer: Links to non-Federal organizations found at this site are provided solely as a service to our users. These links do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the Federal Government, and none should be inferred. The CDC is not responsible for the content of the individual organization web pages found at these links.




Childhood Immunizations Facts

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